Neuromarketing Book Summary Part I
The book Neuromarketing, Understanding the “Buy Buttons” in Your Customer’s Brain, by Patrick Renvoise & Christophe Morin, combines neuroscience with marketing. Neuroscience is the study of the brain and nervous system. A better understanding of how people think and make decisions can facilitate your marketing efforts. If you follow these tips, you’ll likely see an increase in conversion rate and sales. While this book is based on neuroscience, it is written for the common person. The chapters are short and sweet and they conveniently have a brief chapter summary at the end of each chapter. (It’s almost as if the authors understood that humans don’t like reading). Since the “old brain” doesn’t like reading much, one could easily look at the length of this blog post and get discouraged by it. However, this blog’s easy-to-read, three-part summary has all the essential information of the book, which is 236 pages long. Part I comprises Chapters 1-7.
Chapter 1, Three Brains, One Decision-Maker:
Speaking to the true decision maker, the old brain, will raise your effectiveness in communicating an idea or selling a product.
The brain is categorized into three distinct parts that act as separate organs:
- The new brain thinks. It processes rational data.
- The middle brain feels. It processes emotions and gut feelings.
- The old brain decides. It takes into account input from the other two brains, but the old brain is the actual trigger of decision.
The old brain is responsible for the “flight or fight” response (i.e. survival). It’s called the old brain since it was present in early stages of evolution and is still present in reptiles today. It’s also called the reptilian brain. When our brains develop in utero (while growing inside our mother’s womb), the old brain is the first to develop. It is also called the first brain. The new brain does not even finish developing until age 24. From an evolutionary perspective, the old brain is 45,000 times older than written words.
“Researchers have demonstrated that human beings make decisions in an emotional manner and then justify them rationally. Furthermore, we now know that the final decision is actually triggered by the old brain, a brain that doesn’t even understand words”.
Chapter 2, The Only Six Stimuli That Speak to the Old Brain:
The old brain only responds to six very specific stimuli, which, if mastered give you the key to unlocking the decision-making process.
1. Self-centered. The old brain responds to anything pertaining to self. It is self-centered. (Immediate concern is own well-being and survival). Your audience must hear what you can do for them before they will pay any kind of attention to you.
2. Contrast. The old brain is sensitive to clear contrasts (before/after, risky/safe, with/without, fast/slow). Without contrast the old brain is confused. It is wired to pay attention to disruptions. You must create contrast to get your customer’s old brain’s attention. Using “neutral statements” such as “we are one of the leading providers of” is disastrous to your presentation. This does not help your audience quickly sort out information and trigger a decision.
3. Tangible Input. Since the old brain is not qualified to process written language, the use of words–especially complicated ones–will slow down the decoding of your message and automatically place the burden of information processing on the new brain. The old brain appreciates simple, easy-to-grasp, concrete ideas like “more money,” “unbreakable,” and “24-hour turnaround time”.
4. The Beginning and The End. If the old brain can easily anchor a situation with a strong beginning point and a strong end point, it will not seek to use energy to retain content in the middle because it may not be necessary or vital to what the situation requires. Anticipation affects our level of attention. When we anticipate, we produce dopamine (a chemical in the brain that stimulates the “reward center”). Anticipation will raise our attention because it produces a natural high and raises our ability to retain and recall specific details of our experience. It is typically easier for people to assess content to be worse than better. It’s better to go first than last.
5. Visual Stimuli. The old brain is visual. Visual recognition of danger is directly related to survival. Since humans cannot rely on the speed at which the new brain processes information, we are hardwired to make decisions that are mostly based on visual input. By using visual stimuli, you ensure that you tap into the processing bias that the brain has developed over thousands of years.
6. Emotion. The old brain is only triggered by emotion. When we experience an emotion like sadness, anger, joy or surprise, a cocktail of hormones floods our brain and impacts the synaptic connections between our neurons (connections between brain cells), making them faster and stronger than ever before. As a result, we remember events better when we have experienced them with strong emotions. If your customers cannot easily remember your message, how can you expect them to choose your product? Ignoring your audience’s emotion is not an option.
“The old brain responds only to six stimuli. Incorporating these six stimuli will give you fast access to the old brain and will immediately improve your ability to sell, market, and communicate.”
Chapter 3, The Methodology: Four Steps to Success
We have translated the old brain’s six stimuli into four easy, action-based steps.
- Diagnose the Pain.
- Differentiate your Claims.
- Demonstrate the Gain.
- Deliver to the Old Brain.
Remember: Pain, Claims, Gain, Old Brain.
Chapter 4, Step 1: Diagnose the Pain.
By taking time to carefully probe your prospects’ pain, you achieve several goals:
- You help them unveil the true source of their pain.
- You establish your expertise by the appropriateness and relevance of your questions.
- You establish valuable trust with their old brain.
To diagnose a prospect’s pain, you simply need to answer the following four questions:
1. What is the source of the prospect’s most prominent pain? Pain always falls into three main categories: financial, strategic, and personal. Financial pain is the easiest to measure. Defining the source of the pain is the best way to make sure your product or service is designed to bring effective relief. The first level of diagnosing the pain is best performed through extensive marketing research. Research can be conducted to both explore pain and to measure it.
2. What is the intensity of that pain? Low intensity pain is typically related to low involvement or low urgency in the buying decision process. High-intensity pain manifests itself when large amounts of resources or efforts are drawn by the pain. Focus on the high-intensity pain.
3. What is the level of urgency requiring the pain to be solved? Focus on the most time-sensitive pain areas. Urgency is a direct function of the consequences that will be felt if the pain is not cured. If the consequences are imminent or growing proportionately, then your prospect is more likely to act sooner than later.
4. Is my prospect aware of and does he/she acknowledge his/her own pain? It is critical for your prospect to acknowledge his or her own pain. Common or obvious pain will have multiple solutions from several competitors. Uncover a pain that is unique or previously unrecognized and give the prospect time to acknowledge it. Once they agree with your assessment of their pain, they will easily buy into your solution.
Each of these questions must be answered correctly to make a correct diagnosis.
More diagnostic tips:
- Ask open questions
- Seek to understand, get feedback
- Perfect your diagnostic dialogue (see next list)
Principles of Effective Dialogue:
- Suspend Judgement
- Listen Deeply
- Challenge Assumptions
- Inquire and Reflect
“Avoid the mistake of attempting to sell too soon. Not having a thorough diagnostic is like trying to prescribe medication for someone when you don’t even know their symptoms. If you begin to describe the features and functions of your solution without taking the time to evaluate the pain of your prospect, he or she may end up believing your solution is too specific or too narrow, and therefore not effective in curing the pain. Above all else, your solution must address your prospect’s deepest pain.”
Chapter 5, Step 2: Differentiate Your Claims
If you are not selling something unique, you are selling as much for your competitors as you are for yourself. How is your product or service different?
The phrase, “we are one of the leading providers of . . ” fails to offer contrast. A better phrase is, “we are the only provider of . . ”
How do you as a seller pinpoint and convey your unique claims? Pretend you are an inventor registering a patent. When registering a patent you must describe “claims” or the benefits of your invention that have not been offered in any other invention. The patent process demands that any features claimed as new must be contrasted with what already exists. To differentiate yourself from the competition, choose one main claim that correlates with your prospect’s pain and address it in a powerful way.
“Find one or several unique attributes about your solution so you can strongly assert your claims. Claims that eliminate the strongest principal pain of your prospects will best motivate them to buy from you.”
Chapter 6, Step 3: Demonstrate the Gain
There are over 1,200 books that talk about the Value Proposition. The main point they communicate is that to do a good job in presenting your Value Proposition, all you need to do is to highlight the highest possible value your solution may bring to your prospect. Unfortunately, they all omit the importance of reaching the old brain. Simply “highlighting” the value is not enough; you have to prove it. Don’t just talk about your gain; prove it!
Some research has suggested that the pain of making a change may be as harsh as physical torture to some minds. How does one combat such resistance? Be tangible and provide hard evidence.
The Value Must Outweigh the Costs
When a prospect decides to make a purchase, there is always cost involved-whether it is financial, strategic, or personal. It is vital that you demonstrate the gain in a manner that can’t be disputed. Just like pain, gain can be broken down into three categories: financial, strategic, and personal.
- The financial gain is a measurable return on investment (ROI), or less costs.
- The strategic gain is less measurable. It may include increased quality, faster product diversification, shorter market cycles, or easier access to new markets.
- The personal gain relates to greater peace of mind, more fun, higher pride of ownership, improved chances for a promotion, a greater sense of accomplishment, or more self-satisfaction.
Four Ways to Prove the Gain
1. A Customer Story: 80-100% Proof. You can tell them how similar clients are benefiting. Provide customer testimonials. “The law of social reinforcement is one of six ways to influence people” – Robert Cialdini. A customer story is the strongest proof because it is provided by a third party and it is not making any assumption. It has already happened.
2. A Demo: 60-100% Proof. A demo is a short demonstration or prototype of your product or service that proves the gain without necessarily going through all of its features and functionality. Your demos must be perfectly scripted and rehearsed to make sure they don’t fail.
3. Data: 20-60% Proof. When used properly, targeted data can work. Statistic after meaningless statistic will cause your prospect to loose interest. Data means numbers, which do not have as much impact on the old brain. Data is not a first-choice strategy. Data works best if you can use it to contrast a situation, like before and after.
4. A Vision: 10-40% Proof. When you don’t have a customer testimonial or data, create an irresistible vision that demonstrates gain. Tell a story, use a metaphor, or create an analogy for the greatest effect (demonstrate a clear picture and trigger an emotion). This type of proof requires that your prospect act on faith, and is therefore much less effective than other techniques.
Organize Your Proofs of Gain – there are some illustrations in the book that are not included in this summary. The book suggests making a table with three rows, labeled “financial”, “strategic” and “personal” respectively (the gains), and four columns labeled “customer story”, “demo”, “data” and “vision” respectively (the proofs). Then you put a check mark on where the crossover of your unique claim and proof of gain exists.
Good news for sales people who abhor being pushy or manipulative: Sales books often present arguments or “tricks” to create urgency in your prospects’ minds and push them to make faster buying decisions. But if you as a sales person create a strong proof of gain, you will never have to worry about fostering that urgency–it will already be built right into your message.
“Simply talking about your product or service’s value is not enough: you have to prove it. Conquer the old brain’s doubts with tangible proof of gain through hard evidence: relevant customer testimonials, demonstrations, contrasting data, and/or a compelling vision. A simple matrix helps you and your customer see concretely the possibilities for financial, strategic, and personal gain. Remember: Don’t just tell, sell!”
Chapter 7, Step 4: Deliver to the Old Brain
If your prospects were rational, thinking robots, sales and marketing strategies would only include the first three steps of selling to the old brain: diagnose the pain, differentiate your claims, demonstrate the gain. However, human beings are not fully rational. The most solid and logical message, though it may interest your prospect, will not trigger a buying decision unless the old brain understands and remembers it. Deliver your message with maximum impact using these two sets of tools:
The Six “Selling to the Old Brain” Message Building Blocks
- Big Picture
- Proofs of Gain
- Handling Objections
- The Close
The Seven Impact Boosters
- Wording with “You”
- Your Credibility
- Varying Learning Styles
- Less is More
“The final and most crucial step in selling to the old brain involves knowing how to deliver, or speak, to the old brain. We have researched six core components to help you do that; we call them building blocks. To enhance your message style and delivery, we will also share with you seven impact boosters. Get ready to learn!”
Conclusion of Neuromarketing Book Summary Part I
Chapters 1-7 describes the importance of delivering your sales message to the old brain – the part of the human brain that makes decisions. Chapter 2 explains the six stimuli that speak to the old brain and chapters 3-7 explain the four-step methodology for speaking to the old brain. The next summary will include chapters 8 – 13 which describe in detail the six “selling to the old brain” message building blocks. This book is absolutely fantastic, organized and well-written. As a business owner or marketing professional, you would benefit from having a copy of your own for reference and reading the book in detail multiple times. This is marketing doctrine.